A month after we moved into our house, I bought a solid wood white desk on craigslist. It needed a lot of work, so I took it directly into our basement where
I immediately got to work on it it sat for 5 months. In my defense, I
bought it in mid-October, which can kind of be the end of the
furniture-revamping season on account of the shorter and colder days. But
really that’s not a good excuse, because all I needed to do was sand, it’s not
like I needed to paint it outside.
Here's the before:
Here's the before:
And here's the after:
The desk looked like someone had attempted to spray paint it, and the finish was terrible. It was flaking off in places, it had drip marks on the back, and it was totally uneven. The desk had one real drawer and two fake drawers, and the real drawer had this ugly dark green on the inside. So one day in March I felt inspired, took the desk outside, and sanded it.
I had a hard time getting to the areas around the fake drawers and up against the tabletop with the power sander, so I hand-sanded that part with pretty rough sandpaper. Because I intended to paint the desk, I didn’t have to worry about taking off the finish completely. Then I wiped it off with a dry cloth followed by a damp cloth and took it inside.
I prefer to paint inside because there’s a tree in my backyard and I don’t want any leaves or debris to fall on whatever I’m painting, especially if it’s white. So I took the desk inside, put down a drop cloth, and got to work painting it white (which I totally forgot to take a picture of). I like to use mini foam rollers and a trim-painting paintbrush.
Once I finished painting the desk white, I moved it up into my room and let it sit for, well, a while. Then, one night I gained some momentum and decided to stencil the surface of the desk (which I had planned to do for a while). I had looked into stencils for a while, but all the ones I saw online were so expensive, and the ones at the craft stores were a little stuffy. So I decided to make my own using some manila folders I had laying around.
I found a picture of a Moroccan pattern online and printed it out in a few sizes to see what it would look like on my desk.
Once I decided on a size, I traced the pattern with a sharpie over the initial pattern so that it would bleed through to the folder. Then I drew lines where I couldn’t cut so that the middle part of the pattern stayed connected to the rest of the stencil. Then I cute out the stencil with a craft knife.
After I made the stencil, I measured the desktop and found the center point. Then I taped the stencil down immediately to the right of the center point and used a pencil to trace the pattern onto the desk. I repositioned the stencil gradually until the pattern repeated across the entire desktop. You could also go the other direction and cut out the outline of the pattern, and trace around it, not inside of it.
Using a small paintbrush and a sample of Martha Stewart’s “Beet” paint, I filled in the pattern. And man oh man did that take forever. And then I had to go over the pattern two more times. Which I managed to put off over the course of many months. It wasn’t flawless, so afterwards I used a small paintbrush and some white paint to correct some flaws. It was keeping momentum on this very tedious process that I struggled with, and is the main reason this took so freaking long. And then, once I finished that process, I felt like the desk needed something else, so I added another step to my lengthy process by painting the edge of the table top with a slightly larger paintbrush. It was so worth it -- I really thinks it makes the pattern pop.
After the painting was done, I went over my pattern with Minwax Polycrilic because I read on various blogs that it didn’t yellow, which was mega important for my white paint. At first I used a foam brush, but I didn't like the way it was leaving a little lint behind (something I hadn't noticed on my previously protected dark surfaces) so I used a new paint brush instead.
Finally I attached the anthropoligie knobs that I had admired forrrrevvvvvverrrr. I actually mentioned it in this post from a while ago. I actually bought the round knobs, but they turned out to be 1) way too big and 2) really poorly finished.
Has anyone else stenciled furniture lately? I feel like I see painted patterns on furniture on all kids of blogs and Apartment Therapy before and afters. Martha Stewart has a great new line of stencils at Michael’s that are a lot more affordable than some of the online retailers, and better suited for smaller projects. I’m eager to use those for another project, but I’ll have to tell you about that later.
P.S. After seeing this chair that I redid against the desk, I think it’s way too colorful. So it has plans to be given a makeover sometime soon, I hope. I’m thinking a stain, since I like the dark-white contrast. Good thing Citristrip can be used inside!
Update: I finished re-doing the chair. Now check it out with the desk:
And of course, the before and after:
Thanks for featuring this project! Savvy Southern Style, Saved by Suzy, My Repurposed Life, Redoux
Linked to: Somewhat Simple, The Shabby Creek Cottage, Someday Crafts, Primitive & Proper, Saved by Suzy, Domestically Speaking, Miss Mustard Seed, House of Grace, Savvy Southern Style, Beyond the Picket Fence, Thrifty Decorating, The Shabby Nest, 504 Main, Redoux, French Country Cottage, My Repurposed Life, Tatertots & Jello, Under the Table and Dreaming, Creations by Kara, Blue Cricket Design, WhipperBerry, The Scott's Crib